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Lisa Miller - "How I Got Into Radio"

Everybody Knows Gary Berkowitz

7-26-2013

I dont know anyone in the radio business who doesnt know Gary Berkowitz. Whether your background is in AC or CHR, in markets all around the country, it seems people have run into Gary. As the consummate programming guru, Gary has touched many successful stations and its his expertise that makes them enduringly successful. Gary has always treated his stations as relevant communications vehicles, giving the listener the one-on-one relationship that makes radio the medium with a connection. Gary has always engaged the industry in a very personal manner, which makes everyone who knows him a colleague and a friend. Gary has taught me how to have fun while working hard, and to earn the respect of the industry by putting forth 150 percent effort and achieving 200 percent results.

Now, in his own words, here's how Gary Berkowitz of Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting got into radio

I remember the moment I discovered my love of radio, it was the day I was with my parents in NYC's Times Square and I went by the army recruiting booth. Then-Top 40 WMGM was holding a radiothon to raise money for the fight against polio. I stood frozen watching the jock, Peter Tripp, talk to people, talk to the engineer, and talk to the audience.

By the time I started high school, I had spent years listening to WMCA and WABC. The school I attended allowed me to create a radio station, which was really the PA system that covered the school for daily reports. But my friend Lance Sheppards father was a staff announcer at WABC, so when the bell rang at 3:00 p.m. Lance and I headed to the studios of either WABC or WMCA, arriving by 3:12 p.m. I dont know if this was the coolest thing we did or just hearing Lances dad once an hour on Dan Ingrams show announcing WABC, New York, or as we heard it double you, A, B, C, New York.

My first job was at WGBB, a full-service middle-of-the-road, station located in Merrick, Long Island. I was the office intern/schlep who did everything for everybody. The PD was Bob Lawrence who let me sit in on the music meetings, the jock critiques, and all other pertinent meetings regarding programming; I was a sponge. While attending Emerson College in Boston I worked at WERS, the college radio station. During college I applied for a job at Knight Quality Broadcasting, where the president of the company was Norman Knight, a former speech writer for President Kennedy. It was run by his son Scott. They owned many Top 40 stations outside Boston and I got my first real job at WEIM in Fitchburg doing nights and weekends. We had jingles and reverb and I was even paid! Then it was on to WCAP in Lowell and WAAB in Worcester, all while I was at Emerson.

It was thanks to this exposure, during my junior year at Emerson, that I had the nerve to apply to WPRO in Providence. It was a powerhouse Top 40. Jay Clark was the PD. I called the station and asked to speak with Jay and actually got thru. I made an appointment to meet with him to interview for the internship position. One thing led to another and after performing every job at the station I finally got an overnight, weekend on-air shift as Gary Daniels. From there I became the fulltime late night jock. A few years later, I was approached by Jay and GM Warren Potash about taking the Shulke beautiful music WPRO FM and making it a Top 40 station. They looked me square in the eye and said, Well let you do it with one condition, you change your name on air to Gary Berkowitz." Ten years later I left WPRO and felt as if I had finally made my way into the radio business.  

You can email Gary at gary@garyberk.com

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at Lisa@millerbroadcast.com or 312-454-1111.

So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.




(1/7/2014 4:55:01 PM)
aFphJr Really informative blog post. Really Great.

- NY
(10/24/2013 2:36:56 AM)
adwX9G Im thankful for the article.Really thank you! Really Great.

- NY

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